Below is an excerpt from a Short Story I’ve yet to complete. If anyone would like to read more, please comment on this WordPress site or on Twitter @PhilipLeeSosaya
‘I’ve enrolled you in a speed-dating event’
Joanne started again, ‘I’ve enrolled-‘
‘I heard you Joanne.’ Aaron gulped down what remained of his tea and returned the mug to the coffee table. ‘I meant it in an, I’m sorry, are you serious kind of way’.
‘Aaron. It’s time you got out there again, it’s been-‘
‘Oh please! Don’t start that “it’s time” again. He got up from his sister’s sofa, grabbing his empty mug. Half to her and half to himself, he mumbled ‘I know how long it’s been.’
She watched Aaron as he got up, both of them annoyed. ‘Running away? Don’t want to talk about it?’
He strode towards the kitchen, a sudden strong desire to leave her house.
‘It’s getting boring, Jo. Placing his cup in the sink, he turned and made towards his jacket, back at the sofa. In a conciliatory tone, he said ‘Hey…Look, I’ve gotta go. Got to take Molly to the vet.’
They both knew he didn’t need to leave straight away. Joanne suppressed the sarcastic response that formed in her throat; collected his jacket from the sofa and got up to see him out.
As they got to the front door, Aaron put his jacket on and turned to give her a hug goodbye. Joanne caught the sad eyes and her brother’s head that hung a little lower these days. She put out an arm to stop his embrace. When he looked up at her questioningly, she said ‘Come round for dinner next week.’
‘Sure. Love to.’ The reply was automatic. Not authentic.
Joanne tried to get him to commit. ‘What day suits you? We can’t do Wednesdays or Fridays though – kids’ piano lessons and swim nights’.
Aaron tried to sound more enthused, ‘Um…Thursday? I’ll let you know.’
Thursday! Damn, she’d forgotten. ‘Well actually you can’t do Thursday…’
Aaron looked at her, confused.
She grinned. ‘Thursday, you have speed-dating.’
She grabbed him and hugged him. A second or two longer than usual. ‘I’ll text you the details.’ She let him go and as he turned to open the door, reminded him, ‘I’ve already paid the fee, you better bloody be there, ok? And…I’m bloody curious myself about this speed-dating thing, so I want details, alright?!’
Aaron let himself laugh, ‘Ok, ok. I’ll let you know.’ He walked through the door and took the few steps down the path to the front gate. When he got to the gate, knowing she wouldn’t have moved from the door until he’d gone through it, he spun round, ‘Jo.’
‘Don’t get your hopes up.’
She smiled. Raised her right hand slightly from the elbow so he could see it and crossed her fingers for him. ‘Good luck!’